What are the Best Hotel Rewards Programs?

hotel pool with cabanas and tall trees in the background to demonstrate the best hotel rewards programs

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If you want to save money on hotels, signing up for a rewards program is one option. Granted, this is a long term game in order to acquire enough points in order to redeem said hotel benefits. However, you don’t always need to stay in the hotel to earn hotel privileges. Below, I’ve republished WalletHub’s findings on the Best Hotel Rewards Programs for 2020.

WalletHub examined the nine largest U.S. hotel chains’ rewards programs using 21 key metrics, such as the average value of a point, point expiration policies and the volatility of award-night pricing.

woman with hat lounging in pool enjoying her hotel rewards programs

Best Hotel Rewards Programs

  1. Wyndham Rewards
  2. Radisson Rewards
  3. Best Western Rewards
  4. Choice Privileges
  5. Marriott Bonvoy

How should hotel loyalty programs factor into people’s travel plans?

“It’s best to use hotel rewards program rankings as a tiebreaker between two similarly priced lodging options. Start by comparison shopping to find the cheapest hotel reservations with the amenities you want. Then, if there are a few options in the same ballpark, you can take their loyalty programs into account,” said WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou. “Of course, things are a bit different for frequent travelers who are in a position to commit to one of several hotel chains for the foreseeable future. In that case, the loyalty programs and the hotels’ credit cards should be focal points when making your selection.”

Why aren’t the big names ranked higher? 

“Many people will be surprised to learn that Wyndham, Radisson and Best Western top WalletHub’s list of the best hotel rewards programs for 2020, assuming bigger names such as Hilton and Marriott would lead the way. But smaller players in the travel space often provide more incentives because they have to do so in order to compete with bigger names. And that underscores the value in shopping around,” said WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou. “The best hotel rewards programs aren’t the same for everybody, though, which is why we created a calculator to help people customize our rankings based on their own annual budget.”

How much do the best hotel rewards programs save their members?

Wyndham Rewards, which is the best hotel loyalty program for travelers of all spending levels for the fifth year in a row, offers up to $13.46 in rewards value per $100 spent. That’s the most among major hotel loyalty programs, but the big players provide at least a 10% return, based on our calculations,” said WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou.

What should hotel-goers watch out for with loyalty rewards programs?

“One big thing to watch out for with hotel loyalty programs is rewards-point expiration. Best Western is the only major hotel chain whose rewards points do not expire due to account inactivity,” said WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou. “So, at the very least, make sure to search a program’s terms and conditions for the word ‘expire’ to make sure you know what to prevent from happening.”

For more key findings and insights, check out WalletHub’s full report.

Wyndham Rewards Program

Here are the perks of the Wyndham Rewards:

Go Free – Choose how you want to redeem your points with three simple free night tiers—7,500, 15,000, or 30,000 points per bedroom—available at thousands of Wyndham Rewards properties worldwide.

Go Fast – Get a discounted night for just 1,500, 3,000, or 6,000 points per bedroom plus some cash at participating properties. Plus, you’ll even earn points for every dollar you spend on your room.

Go Get ’em – For every qualified stay, earn 10 points per dollar or 1,000 points, whichever is more.

Hotels by Wyndham

  • Wyndham Grand
  • Doce
  • Wyndham
  • TRYP
  • Esplendor
  • Dazzler
  • Trademark
  • LaQuinta
  • Wingate
  • Wyndham Garden
  • AmericInn
  • Ramada
  • Baymont
  • Microtel
  • Days Inn
  • Super 8
  • Howard Johnson
  • Travelodge
  • Hawthorn Suites

Radisson Rewards

Here are the highlights of the Radisson Rewards program.

  • Free Award Nights: Starting at 9,000 points with no blackout dates on Standard Rooms.
  • Elite status: Starting at nine eligible nights or six eligible stays.
  • Members Only Rate: As a Radisson Rewards member, you’ll save up to 10% on the best available rate when you book directly on our website or mobile app.
  • Complimentary water: Members receive two bottles of complimentary water with every stay.
  • Earn points: Earn 20 points per US dollar spent on eligible stays.
  • Valuable redemption options: Redeem your points for Free Award Nights, airline miles, gift cards, prepaid cards, and more!

Hotels By Radisson

  • Radisson Collection
  • Park Plaza
  • Radisson Blu
  • Radisson Red
  • Park Inn
  • Country Inn & Suites

Best Western Rewards

The best part of the Best Western Rewards program is that the points never expire. They have low free night redemptions and no blackout dates. Plus, if you’re elite with another hotel loyalty program, they’ll match your status for free. Another bonus, early check-ins, and late checkouts.

Best Western Hotels & Resorts

  • Best Western
  • Vib
  • Premier
  • Sadi
  • BW Signature
  • Executive Residency
  • Best Western Plus
  • Aiden
  • BR Premier
  • Glo
  • SureStay Collection

Choice Privileges

Choice Hotels are the perfect road trip hotel as you know you can find one of these anywhere along your route. We use many of these on our road trips and have not been disappointed.

My favorite perk on the Choice Privileges is that you can earn 10,000 Choice Privileges points plus a $100 MasterCard® with a 2-night resort stay at your choice of Bluegreen destinations.

Choice Hotels & Resorts

  • Comfort
  • Sleep Inn
  • Quality Inn
  • Clarion
  • Clarion Pointe
  • Ascend
  • Cambria
  • MainStay Suites
  • Woodspring Suites
  • EconoLodge
  • Rodeway Inn
  • Vacation Rentals by Choice

Marriott Bonvoy Rewards

Marriott Hotels always gets you free WiFi, mobile check-in and lowest member rates all the time. Plus, more ways to earn such as dining, rental cars, and tours.

Marriott Hotel Collections

  • Edition
  • Ritz-Carlton
  • the Luxury Collection
  • St. Regis
  • W Hotels
  • JW Marriott
  • Marriott
  • Sheraton
  • Marriott Vacation Club
  • Delta Hotels
  • Westin
  • Le Meridien
  • Renaissance Hotels
  • Autograph Collection
  • Gaylord Hotels
  • Courtyard
  • Four Points
  • Springhill Suites
  • Fairfield
  • Protea Hotels
  • AC HJotels
  • Aloft
  • Moxy
  • Homes & Villas
  • Residence Inn
  • Townplace Suites
  • Element

What is the Best Hotel Rewards Program for you?

When you’re choosing a hotel rewards program it can be difficult to decide which is the best program for you. To begin with, start by answering these questions:

  1. Where do I tend to stay most often?
  2. Do I have any Credit Card affiliations with a Hotel Rewards Program?
  3. Can I get extra points for dining out?
  4. Can I get extra points with a credit card?
  5. Does this brand have enough Family Hotels for us to use?

Ultimately, it costs nothing to join the programs and if you link your credit cards to some of the programs, you could earn extra points for dining, etc. It’s worth signing up and keeping an eye on which one has the better rate.

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2 thoughts on “What are the Best Hotel Rewards Programs?”

  1. We like to stay at Choice Hotels. They aren’t always fancy but their bedding is pretty standard and we find it comfortable and that is a big plus for us. We are planning a road trip and hoping to us points to defray costs. Any suggestions?

    1. Plan ahead for sure. Plan no more than 500 miles a day and book in adance so you’re not left with last minute choices that don’t line up with your Choice Hotels. Use their app too!

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